Friday, October 4, 2013

The Use of the Word “us” in the Epistle to the Ephesians

The Use of the Word “us” in the Epistle to the Ephesians

The saints at Northwest Bible Fellowship have recently begun doing a study on Ephesians on the Wednesday night small groups. In response to this, I started reading a little bit of Ephesians here and there, and was curious to know how often the word “us” appears throughout this epistle. The theme of Ephesians could be considered to be the riches that the Church (universal) has in Christ and all that He has done for us.

There are seventeen times “us” is used, in a total of fifteen verses. I would like to consider each one briefly. Bold italics will all be mine for emphasis.

Eph. 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.

Here, God the Father has blessed us with every spiritual blessing. The KJV translates the second part more specifically saying: “who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. It is in Christ that we receive every spiritual blessing.

Eph. 1:4 “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love:”

The Father has chosen us in Christ from before the foundation of the world not who would have eternal life as some suppose, but that we should be holy and blameless before Him. Because Christ is holy and blameless, all who are chosen in Him will be as well.

Eph. 1:5 “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,”

It pleased God to mark out before hand believers to be adopted into the family of God. Here, the controversial doctrine of predestination is brought up. Some suppose that predestination is to eternal life, but I would disagree. Read the verse again, and you will see that in this verse predestination is to adoption, a legal term related to sonship. In the eleventh verse, the word comes up again in past tense form, but it is the same Greek word that is used. There we read about how we are predesinated to an inheritance in Christ. Now predestination literally means to “mark out beforehand”, so these are things for which believers have been marked out beforehand. The other passage where predestination occurs is in Romans 8:28-30 where we read that it is conformity to the image of Christ that to which we are predestined. I believe that adoption, conformity to the image of Christ, and the obtaining of an inheritance are all related, as only sons receive an inheritance, and we are adopted into the family of God making us sons, and as sons, our final goal is to be conformed to be made like the Son of God. Only believers have the blessing of predestination, it never applies to unbelievers, and it never applies to forgiveness of sins, so anyone can be predestined so long as they accept Christ as their savior. This verse details the great benevolence of God, all this was done because it was His will, and that it was for His pleasure. Christ wasn’t pleased to merely save us, but to bring us into the family of God.

Eph. 1:6 “To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved.”
After explaining how Christ has marked out beforehand the adoption of sons for His pleasure and good will, and we praise him for His wonderful grace, which made us accepted in the one who is loved who is Christ.

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